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I have recently received a video request on foam rolling, and I realized that I had yet to make a post or video about it.
Foam rolling is a fantastic recovery tool to help you release muscle tension and trigger points. It is generally pretty straightforward, and I do have a detailed video inside the back pain bootcamp for a full body foam rolling tutorial.
In this post, I want to focus on 2 important things you need to keep in mind if you are foam rolling to get relief from lower back pain.
I do encourage you to take few minutes to watch the video below where I explain the 2 (and very common) mistakes people make when trying to foam roll for lower back pain relief. ESPECIALLY if you are suffering from some disc problem.
PS: I am using the GRID Foam Roller .
Got no time to watch the video? I’m gonna do my best to summarize it below 🙂 but it’s important to watch it when you have time to see the techniques I’m showing you.
2 Foam Rolling Mistakes to Avoid | How to Foam Roll the Glutes Properly
Foam Rolling Mistake #1: Causing more muscle weakness.
Is it possible to make the muscle weaker when foam rolling? yes very possible, if the muscle is already weak and has a tendency to get weaker and longer. For example the glute max.
How to fix this problem: Learn more about muscle anatomy, and how the muscle you want to foam roll look like. Also, check out this amazing blog post by Paul Chek and learn more about which muscles tend to get weaker and long (predominantly phasic muscles). Google search these muscles to see how they look like!
When foam rolling these muscles, try to go against the direction of the muscle fibers. You will be able to target the trigger points without further elongating the muscle (hence causing more weakness).
Predominantly tonic muscles have a tendency to get tight and short. By following the direction of the muscle fibers as you roll, you help create some balance in these muscles, since they are more prone to tightness and shortening.
Foam Rolling Mistakes #2: Foam Rolling your Lower Back
Foam rolling the thoracic spine (upper and mid back) is a great way to open up your chest and release the upper back muscles. We need that extension to balance out the rounded shoulders position we are in most of the time. Your upper back is protected by the rib cage.
If you look at the human spine, we already have that S-shaped curve. So when you are laying your lower back on a foam roller, you are:
1: creating even more anterior pelvic tilt (hyperlordosis).
2: There is no bone structure (the rib cage) protecting that area. So if you have a disc problem you may be contributing to more damage.
If you have lower back pain, you should almost always look somewhere else for the source of that pain. Most of the time, the pain is originating someplace else. This is called referred pain.
There are many other things you can do to help you get lower back relief: targeting the hip flexors with a massage ball, strengthening the core and the glutes, correcting your posture, releasing the upper back and lats, and also working on reducing inflammation through a proper nutrition and holistic lifestyle.
You should also work on investigating the pain, so you can figure out exactly what’s up, and channel your treatments to fixing the source of the problem.
I hope that you found this post helpful! Oh and if you enjoyed the video, don’t forget to subscribe to my youtube channel so you don’t miss any weekly videos 🙂